Why do I do this ?I've been thinking about why I do this off and on for some years. Leaving aside the business side for a while why when I do this for a living do I also enjoy the hobby.
|To be able to make and display stuff like this is one of the main reasons I do this.|
Thinking about it I sell toy/model soldiers to chaps who are intrested in toy/model soldiers. Most- but by no means all of thse are Wargamers and of those Wargamers only a minority are PRIMARLY
"GAMES FIRST" types. Now this attude rises sharply if the customers is a fantasy or pulp player or indeed a skirmish gamer in most genres. There is a lot of stuff out there in "Miniatures Gaming" that while its called Wargaming is avovedly unmilitary. Such "periods" as"Old West"(to distinguish from Plains Wars) Gangsters, Pulp Fiction, many areas of Fantasy and Sci FI (though there are "military" aspects to both)- the seemingly endless number of sci-fi ish skirmish games with "factions" which seem to be based upon crime and fat blkes with ridiculous weapons ... .. All of thse are decidedly unmilitary. Indeed the rise of "Non -war wargaming" has been signifcant over the lat 20 years or so and no eyebrows were raised about its acceptance into our pantheon. Now barring past flirtations with Western Gunfights(54mm) and my occaisional interest in sci-fi(which is still pretty military) I don't care for these" non-war wargames"simply biaecause I don't see the point other than as occaisional light relief. They are hardly "periods" in the normal sense of having more to them than a simple repetitive game. For instance a Western Gunfight is gunfight is a gunfight." English Civil War" if entered into fully gives you everything from a glorified pub brawl to a full scale engagment with all sorts of stuff in between from skirmishes to sieges. The same can be said for any huistorical period and -if done properly Fantasy and Sci-fi too but the new generation of "boutique games"- small limited in scope and fiendishly expensive often as not simply do not cut the mustard and are not rwally wargame in any meaningful sense.
So that is why I DON'T do something now as to why I do.
You have to start with Military History- there is no getting around that it has to be the starting point. Of itself it is endliessly facinating and I'd still read and study it even if there were no soldiers to play with. War is a very human activity and brings out the best and the worst in us - often at the same time.
Henry's editorial in the most recent MW highlighted this and opined that our harmless. hobby simulates warfare with out hate. This is a dammend good way to put it. I'd add that it should at least some of the time make us think about warfare and itts effects upon us. Not all of are games should be lightweight fluff despite the prevailing fashion.
However back to the Plot.
Next are the models- Honestly not sure which came first here but it was probably toy soldiers when I was about 7 or so . As I got older I wanted to know why they looked the way they did and who they really were - so THATS how the history started.
- All this while I was still at primary school .
The wargaming came a bit later at Grammar school .
For me its mostly about the search for knowledge rather than mere dice rolling. Once you have that knowledge you can attempt to translate what happened onto the wargames table in a format which is
a/. pleasing to the eye- that is the point of using models.
b/. Bear some relation - if only in the look of the thing - to a battle from the period it purports to depict. so anything with DB in the title is out ... biggest load of gamesey twaddle ever written A game for Dice nerds .. Fie upon it ! Period specific rules are in. Or at least rules that work for a specific periodand hopefully give you a twinge of that will o' the wisp idea- period feel .
c/. Again depending upon period, games can be either complex or simple or anywhere in between. "Game" is never the be all and end all but that doesn't always mean game is automatically at the bottom of the pile. but it does tend to be the least of my worries.
This is probably becasue I prefer Umpire controlled games. Let the Umpire deal with the mere mechanics mostly I don't care which dice I roll when since I've already made the tactical or strategic decision. Also it never about mere victory- did all that in the 70s and 80s . I want something more now than simply scoring points off my mates.. Victory is nice but if its the be all and end all of your wargaming then you need to get out more .
In the same way some people get turned off by historical information Blokes droning on about games does my head in .
"well I had to thow a 1-3 on a 19 sided dice- so I got my lucky 19 sider- the purple one with the skulls .. drone drone drone .... ZZZZZZZZZZZ"-Get the picture !
Its one of the reasons I don't play Fantasy- even if I like the artistry of the miniatures- and there are some superb Fantasy minis out there . I suspect that its simply that Fantasy dudes don't seem to do jokes- at least not in my experience ! Mind you if I ever got the urge to do fictional worlds I'd do Fantasy perhaps with as many really really bad jokes as I could cram in .... Orcs as Geordies perhaps .... Yorkshire Dwarfs .... Elves as Public school boys with no chins ... so they can look down on you ... Trouble is after I'd done that once or twice it would pall and become repetitive in a way that real history simply doesn't- there is always more of it to learn.and therefore experiment with.